American performer Billy Porter makes abortion rights statement in suit-gown featuring uterus

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

Billy Porter wore a statement suit-gown to show his support for the pro-choice abortion movement at the 73rd Tony Awards ceremony last night.

The American performer, who stars in US drama series ‘Pose’, wore a look designed to look like a woman’s uterus to the annual event, which was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The suit-dress look was designed by New York bridal label Celestino Couture.

READ MORE: 9 female celebrities who have spoken about having an abortion

Porter wore it in solidarity with the abortion debate raging in the US at the moment.

Billy Porter wore a custom-made Celestino Couture dress-suit on the red carpet. [Photo: Getty]

Speaking to US publication Hollywood Reporter, he said: “At the fitting, we spoke about making a pattern on the train that was in the shape of a uterus, but not obvious of course.

“And I thought it was awesome because women’s rights are under attack right now. I’m an advocate for all who are disenfranchised. None of us are free until we’re all free!

“I really want to make sure that I’m showing up for all of the disenfranchised people I can so that we can find power in our unity.

READ MORE: Emily Ratajkowski poses naked in protest of US abortion laws

US actor Billy Porter attends the 73rd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2019 in New York City. [Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images]

“This government is trying to take away the woman’s right to choose and that’s unacceptable. No!”

Porter isn’t the first to wear a dress apparently inspired by female genitalia – actor Emily Blunt was praised for her so-called “vagina dress” at the SAG Awards earlier this year.

The dress was also made from upcycled material: it was fashioned out of a curtain used in the Broadway production of hit musical ‘Kinky Boots’, which ended last April after 2,507 performances.

Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for best actor in a musical after starring in the show.

The US abortion debate

Abortion is an issue of huge political significance in the United States.

Last May, Alabama adopted the nation’s strictest abortion law in 46 years, while in the same month Georgia signed a bill outlawing abortion after a heartbeat is detected, usually six weeks into a pregnancy.

There have been protests through the country in recent months, from New York City to Memphis, Tennessee, while a number of celebrities have spoken out against the laws.

READ MORE: Busy Philipps speaks about her abortion

A 2018 survey which found some 58% of US adults think abortion is morally wrong – compared with 37% who said it should be illegal all or most of the time – perhaps sheds light on the divisive nature of the debate.

In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the legal situation varies depending on where you are in the country.

Women living in England, Scotland and Wales can legally have an abortion at up to 23 weeks and six days of pregnancy, in line with the Abortion Act 1967.

Last year, The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 legalised abortion up to 12 weeks in the Republic of Ireland, following a referendum which saw a landslide vote of 66.4% in favour of overturning the abortion ban.

However, women living in Northern Ireland, where this law was not passed, access to abortion is forbidden in almost every circumstance except where a woman’s life is at risk. This does not include rape, incest, or fatal foetal abnormality.

For more information on abortion law in the UK and your rights, visit the Marie Stopes UK website.